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Group dining: What are your tips for creating an unforgettable experience?

Hi everyone 💐

 

Mother’s Day (for our North American friends) and Father’s Day are almost here again. They are great occasions for families to get together to celebrate — whether that’s heading out for a special meal or getting takeaway at home.

 

So we’d love to know:

 

What are your tips for creating unforgettable group dining experiences?


Our Square Online team has also prepared a blog post with some handy tips to help with the increased demand — you can find it here! Note: the post is only available on our US Square Blog at the moment.

Tra | she/her
Community Engagement Program Manager, Square
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So I'm not in the Hospitality industry any longer but I was in Hospitality for over a decade and a few ways to help create an unforgettable experience when it comes to dining:

 

1. Set expectations with the host regarding open bars/cutoffs so that the bartenders can make sure everyone is having a great time without breaking the bank and that way you can avoid hard conversations after the fact.

 

2. Make sure when it comes to dropping the bill the host has already discussed how it's going to be handled. 40 split checks as a surprise for the server is a really bad time and can lead to arguments that could have been prevented.

 

3. Bottles of wine with wine service saves a bartender's life from having to make 40 craft cocktails in a row and preselected bottles can lead to a much faster service standard.

 

4. Generally for large groups I recommend budgeting in a charcuterie or cheese board as a bonus "surprise" for the guests, I've been in fine dining where we had a Private dining group of 80 and we added 2 courses with very little notice, that was "fun" for the kitchen but lead to a standing ovation by some very prestigious chefs and the entire party that were in attendance.

 

5. Steps of service and making sure everyone is on their A game, even something as simple as water service and drink refills leads to a much more enjoyable experience for the guests. This is where I feel a lot of preparation helps because service often meets a brick wall when it comes to larger groups and taking a bit of extra time to make sure everything is stocked and staffing is adequate makes a huge difference. Too many large companies cut corners when it comes to staffing/allowing for planning ahead and then wonder why things aren't flawless.

 

I could literally go on all day because I've done every position BOH/FOH for over 50 different restaurants over the years and everything from casual to fine dining.

 

Being in retail we typically focus on our core expertise which is balloons and making sure they look better than our competition. I can literally tell our balloons versus any other store's based on the effort we take to ensure quality and presentation. (extra accent ribbons make a huge difference)

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This may sound weird but at a Chinese restaurant in our area the server comes around after the meal with steamed hot washcloths for you to clean your fingers / face.  The hot, slightly-damp towel is such a nice touch, especially compared to the usual paper napkins or even fabric ones.  It just feels luxurious. 

Michael
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